The blood test hypo is a portable blood testing device which appears only in the 2002 video-game The Thing. Designed to test the identity of a suspected imitation, the hypo consists of a syringe, trigger and a mixing chamber. The individual's blood is extracted and passes into the mixing chamber, where it is exposed to a chemical agent which burns the blood when the two combine. If the suspect is infected the blood test will expose him. The device was presumably constructed by Gen Inc for experimentation purposes.
Technical limitations and criticism
Many fans and critics complained (in hindsight, after finishing the game) how the blood test hypo was flawed, as the game's infection system was either random (some NPCs could get infected if attacked by The Thing too much) or scripted, meaning that some specific NPCs tested negative at first but later revealed themselves as The Thing immediately after reaching a new section of a level, making the blood test useless for deciding who's infected and who isn't. Lead designer Diarmid Campbell said in an interview it's a flaw they became aware of, but ultimately needed to decide on a compromise between good storytelling and innovative mechanics, which inevitably led to some inconsistencies.
Some fans say that, although clearly an oversight by the developers, it could also indicate how we don't truly know the nature of The Thing; it could be starting to learn to bypass the blood test, or perhaps the blood test never worked the way MacReady intended.
According to developer Andrew Curtins, this problem would have been solved in the canceled sequel:
"Sadly, The Thing 2 never progressed much past a proof of concept demo that focused on the team's determination to solve the scripted infection issue."
- Because of the blood test scripted oversight, many players choose simply to use the blood tests on Blake, as it generates an enormous amount of trust for other squad members.
- Some already-infected NPCs (such as Parnevik, Stanmore and Guy) behave erratically when encountered, by being completely silent, trusting the player 100% from the start or standing absolutely still when the player finds them without showing any reaction, a sign they're The Thing. Some of them, like Carter (Soldier) and Guy, don't even belong to the classes they're supposed to (Carter is a Soldier but is dressed like a Medic, Guy is a Soldier but is dresed like an Engineer). Although they will usually burst out immediately after encountered, the blood tests will always show them as infected from the start (Stanmore being an exception unless he's taken out of his cell). Imitations that behave in a completely normal human manner and manage to fool the player include Carter (Soldier) and Ryan, who completely distrust the player at the start.
- The scripted NPCs that test negative but later burst out regardless of the outcome of the test are Carter (Engineer), Cruz, Pace, Williams, Collins, Falchek and Stanmore. Stolls doesn't count, as he became infected after heading into a room brimming with Things.